10.05.2016

When Halfway There Feels Like the Middle of Nowhere

There’s been some disappointments this week. And we’re only halfway through. Sometimes halfway there can feel like the middle of nowhere. Take me back to the beginning or bring me to the end, but this middle place isn’t where I’d hoped to be.

Then a friend sent me Psalm 91, a reminder that

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

Sometimes the goodness of the opening verse restores a lot of what has been lost before you ever get all the way to the end. I’d forgotten to dwell, I confessed. I’d been dwelling, but not in His shelter. I’d dwelt on disappointments, hard work that seemed to not pay off, another week of what felt was wasted time.

Then came the reminder.

Sometimes our deepest disappointments point us to Him.

 

lettuce

It started Saturday night with the bitter lettuce. Friends had just walked into our home, where we offered a spread of tacos and fixings, with homegrown lettuce. I’m not sure there’s anything better to top your tacos with than shredded lettuce fresh out of the garden.

Before we started eating, one son reminded me of the awfulness of the lettuce. He knew from a previous night that the lettuce was in his words “the worst thing you’ve ever made me eat.” Being the really attentive mother I am, I ignored his complaint about the bad-tasting lettuce the first night we ate it. We had all drowned our salad in enough dressing that I thought the lettuce tasted just fine.

But when he reminded me in front of our friends, I was forced to acknowledge the complaint, and in order to prove the deliciousness of the homegrown lettuce, I popped a handful of shredded goodness into my mouth. And promptly proclaimed it the worst tasting lettuce IN MY LIFE. That’s not dramatic. It’s truth. It was bitter and spicy and all things lettuce should not be. Our friends went to the nearest store and bought a bag of lettuce. Not as fresh, and certainly not homegrown. But tasty enough to top our tacos.

In the garden tonight, the oldest son watered, and we talked about the bitter tasting lettuce. There’s been a whole lot of disappointment in that fall garden. He watered a half-dead tomato plant, while I rummaged through caterpillar-infested cucumber plants to scavenge a few cucumbers off the vine to bring into the house.

watering garden

 

It’s not exactly what I envisioned when I planted the fresh green plants, weeks ago. But then he said what maybe I needed to hear all along.

“It’s just kind of fun to be out here with you watering, still.”

Even though we are probably only going to grow two tomatoes this fall. Even though our beautiful cucumber plants have been eaten by caterpillars and have dead leaves throughout every plant. Even though it wasn’t the bountiful harvest we’d planned.

Maybe being with each other in a quiet space of evening is what the garden is really there for. And during the years when we get lots of vegetables, that’s just a little extra.

Relationships are the thing that really matters. We heard it the other day when a preacher read the words of the father in the story of the prodigal son. When the obedient son complained that his father was throwing a party for the prodigal son who had returned home, the father simply said “son, you are always with me.”

That was the answer. You’ve always been with me. That’s the gift. Dwelling with the Father. But when I had forgotten to dwell earlier this week, I’d lost sight of the gift. Being with Him. The present is always His presence.

Our relationships here remind us of our relationship with Him.

So the sign hung in the garden by my husband weeks ago can still read truth even though we aren’t growing what we’d hoped.

May Good Things Grow Here

May Good Things Grow Here

Good things grow even in the middle of disappointment. In the dryness of a little wilderness wandering, He often gives us the best things.

We walked inside with a few banana peppers and cucumbers. Not the harvest we’d planned for. Not the week we’d expected.

But together.


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